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27″ iMac Offers Easier RAM Upgrade

The difficulties encountered when upgrading the 2012 iMac 21.5″ model are well documented. In fact, with the particularly complex screen and logic board removal, professional installation is highly recommended. Fortunately, Apple has made upgrading memory a much easier endeavor in the 27″ model of the new iMac.

The 27″ model features a simple memory access port on the rear that ejects via a button above the power input. To remove the rear panel, just unplug the power cable and push the button above the power input. (Note: The button must be pushed in about 1/2″, so we recommend using the Newer Technology Toolkit “spudger” or a similar household item.) Once you have the panel removed, you are free to insert new memory.

So, the outcome to this is that based on the ease of install, when ordering a new 2012 27″ iMac, you should get it with the least amount of RAM installed at the factory. Why? Well, OWC offers some substantial savings versus the factory upgrades! Our 16GB upgrade costs less than half ($97.50) of what the same upgrade from Apple costs ($200). And if you’re looking to max-out your RAM, we also offer a 32GB option, which is about 1/3 the price ($195) of Apple’s offering ($600).


Of course, memory is only one of the things you can upgrade on a Mac, so we decided to take apart the iMac to see what else, if anything can be upgraded. There looks to be a run-of-the mill 3.5″ Hard Drive inside, and the new “stick” form factor SSD, similar to those in the MacBook Pro with Retina display. Further testing will need to be done to see if they can be upgraded with any 3.5″ SATA hard drive/SSD or an OWC Aura Pro for rMBP, respectively.

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  • Can I put 1333mhz ram from my imac 27 mid 2011 to my new imac 27 late 2013??? If yes will it help to increase performance?? Thank you

  • just learning imac to free myself from bigbrother after 20+ years: Congrats! You guys have an awsome job! Roman

  • Can I put faster RAM in my iMac than the specs suggest (i.e., is the slot backwards compatible)?

    I have a 27″ iMac i5 2011 that takes 1333 RAM. Can I use 1600 or 1866 (if I can find it at a better price?)

      • We only recommend 1333Mhz speed for the 2011 iMacs.

        While faster clocked DDR3 RAM is technically compatible and will down clock, it is not something we support or advise to do.

  • Hi OWC
    Is it possible for OWC to beef up a macpro2012 12core to 128gig of ram and 4 or 6 gig of graphics card


    Dj TEE films

  • Wow, your prices have nearly doubled in the seven months since this article was written. There is only the slightest cost savings now to purchase 16GB through OWC than to have it already installed from the factory. What happened? Glad I was able to take advantage of the saving last winter, but I’m bummed that it’s not as much of a deal now that I’m considering purchasing more RAM.

  • hello,

    I just added (8 Go x2) Ram sticks to my Imac 27″, which was already running (4Go x 2) : all the banks are now full.
    After restarting the Imac, it still only see 8 Go (4Go x2), instead of (8×2) + (4×2) : 24 Go…

    What wrong with my iMac?

    • Most likely, the RAM isn’t seated fully. It does take some force in order to push the memory fully into place. Try taking it out and re-installing. If you are still experiencing problems, feel free to contact our technical support team at 1(800)275-4576 or via email or live chat.

  • Hi,

    I’m getting the late 2012 iMac pretty soon and I was just wondering whether it is possible to still upgrade your RAM when you have already used it for several weeks or even months.


      • Is there any difference between very very expensive apple/hynix RAM and your RAM?

        • All OWC brand memory meets or exceeds Apple’s specifications and is rigorously in-house lab tested to ensure superior quality, compatibility and reliability. Additionally our memory is backed by an industry leading lifetime advanced replacement warranty. If you need your OWC memory replaced, we will ship to you same day.

  • If I get a 2013 imac with the standard 8 gig (2×4), can I get the 8 gig (2×4) from you guys and just slap it in to get me to 16 gig? or even if I get the 16 gig (2×8)?any reported problems with mixing in your sticks with the factory ram?

    • All of our memory meets or exceeds Apple’s specifications for memory. Adding additional memory alongside the original memory works perfectly.

  • does it help 32 GB memory to run more fast ?
    i have a 27 imac 2.9 ghz intel core i5 ( no FD) ?

  • Hi OWC,

    I am getting the iMac 27 inch, 3.4 GHz Quad, late 2012 model soon.

    I want to upgrade RAM myself. I would like the 32 gig kit.

    Do you ship to Bermuda?



  • I’m thinking about getting the 27″ late 2012 iMac. I want to upgrade memory to 32GB. As I understand it the unit has 4 memory slots since the OWC 32GB kit is 4 8GB sets. But since the iMac comes with 8GB why do i have to buy 4 cards rather than just 3 to get to 32GB? Thanks for any info.

    • The RAM included has 2x 4GB cards with two open slots for upgrading. To upgrade to 32GB RAM you would need to install a total of 4 8GB cards. The stocked 4GB cards would have to be taken out completely. Hope this helps=)

  • I just added 16GB (2×8) to my new 27 inch IMac for a total of 24Gb.
    No problem adding, but the cover plate for the memory unit will not fully close.
    Anybody else have this problem?
    Any ideas?

  • We have just changed our 2011 27″ iMac to a 2012 model and took out the 2 banks of 8gb ram before we got rid of the old one, I put this ram into the new one but it would not come on. Does it matter which slot you put the ram into? Is the ram not compatible with the new iMac?

    • Your 2011 iMac uses PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz SO-DIMMs while the 2012 iMa uses PC3-12800 DDR3L 1600MHz SO-DIMMs. The memory from for 2011 iMac is not compatible with your 2012 iMac.

  • Any word on the OWC SSD upgrading possibilities for the 2012 iMac. I’ve been holding off on my purchase to see what drive upgrades (if any) I should choose. I’m hoping to order with the basic hard drive option then replace with multiple OWC SSD’s and 32 gigs of OWC RAM.

    Thanks for your efforts. Hope to hear back soon.

  • Yes, definitely eager to hear if the stock HDD can be removed with an SSD from OWC. Please let us know ASAP. Fun with abbreviations!!

    • Yes you can remove the 3,5″ HDD for a 2,5″ SSD,i did this!alot of work butt the result is “mac”nifisant!!!

  • My iMac 27″ arrives tomorrow. I ordered it with 16gb of ram and already have the owc 16gb waiting to install to max out at 32gb. I noticed that the imac comes with ddr3 and owc memory is ddr3L. Is it okay to mix the two and if so which slots should they be installed in.

  • If this works out well, and you guys offer one of those ship it to us and let us do all the work plans, I am going to get a barebones and have you put in a 2TB drive so I can use bootcamp. Really wish Apple offered a 2TB option from the factory.

  • Q. The internal data storage bus is most likely SATA 3 ? Is the SD memory card reader slot SATA 3 ? Can there be installed a RAID 0 SSD system with 2 OWC SSD / sticks? One using the SSD storage slot and one using the SD memory card slot/connector or is the SD card port hard wired/soldered to the logic board? How about the speakers, most likely bigger than the 21.5″ any improvement in sound quality over 21.5″ model? Due to the different screen and front glass over the 2001 model, is there any difference in the display quality? Apple purports that they calibrate their display ?? I always profile mine (2011 model) Is the panel the same one as used in the 2011 model? Any differences between the 2011 and 2012 displays? Thanks

  • Is the 32GB memory limit a hard limit, or a practical one? I see some 16GB memory modules advertised online for about $500 each (these are currently marketed for servers, but as far as I can tell the specs are compatible). If, a year or two down the road, higher-capacity chips become more affordable/readily available, could the 27″ iMac memory be expanded beyond 32GB?

    Yes, 64GB of memory sounds excessive. However, once upon a time 1GB RAM sounded ludicrous. Down the road, this may be a way to keep this machine viable for longer…

    …speaking of long-term viability, if/when the current generation of iMacs are no usable, is there a way to continue to use their screens as an external monitor? [Apologies for the potentially off-topic digression…]


    • It would be nice to put 64 GB RAM in my iMac, though I think my 32 GB will truly be the final limit! (16 GB was before.)

      To your other question, all iMacs with Mini DisplayPort are capable of Target Screen Mode. It’s quite remarkable. I’ve hooked an old 2008 unibody MacBook Pro to my 27″ iMac via a Mini DisplayPort cable and then had about 5 megapixels at my disposal! (3.7 MP + 1.3 MP across two displays.)

  • Fantastic news, i hope everything would be upgradeable since i ordered the 1TB fusion drive with mine, keeping in mind that you guys would find a way to upgrade it (if don’t i still have a enough good drive), saving on extremely expensive 768GB SSD, i hope i can install a Samsung 840 Pro instead the 3.5HDD and a better OWC Aura pro to raid them together. XD

  • Hey OWC, am I able to purchase the 16GB RAM and use that with the supplied 8GB RAM that has already been shipped with the iMac?

      • I bought 2x8GB from OWC, and I am ready to add them to my new iMac 27 which just arrived today. Does it matter which slots I put the new RAM in. I know that it is better to add memory in matched sets, but I’m not sure which DIMMS are “matched”. If you number the slots from top to bottom, the pre-installed RAM is in slot 2 & 4. Do I add the 2x8GB to slots 1 & 3? Does it matter?

  • Thank You – One thing I’ve been waiting on is OWC’s opinion on any drive upgrades in the new 27. One thought was using a medium size SSD and handling large storage via USB 3 or thunderbolt. Apple’s design is secondary to performance options for most of us. It boggles the mind why there is no standard SSD option in the drive position. 1300 bucks for their card is incredibly short sighted, but then Apple is in business to make money, so seal up the screen and most will never brave the adhesive. This could be the last time they leave the ram accessible on iMacs.

    Looking forward to your research.